The Word of the Lord to Hosea

Chapter 1

Hosea, to show God's judgment for spiritual lewdness, takes Gomer, 1-3, and has by her Jezreel, 4, 5; Lo-ruhamah, 6, 7; and Lo-ammi, 8, 9. The restoration of Judah and Israel under one head, 10, 11.

1 [The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.]

2 [The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea.] And the LORD said to Hosea, "Go take for yourself a wife addicted to lewdness and children of lewdness, for the land has committed great lewdness, departing from the LORD." 3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, who conceived and bore him a son. 4 And the LORD said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for yet a little while and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu and will cause the kingdom of the house of Israel to cease. 5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."

6 And she conceived again and bore a daughter. And God said to him, "Call her name Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have mercy upon the house of Israel, but I will utterly take them away. 7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, by sword, by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen."

8 Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son. 9 Then God said, "Call his name Lo-ammi, for you are not my people, and I will not be your God.

10 "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there it shall be said to them, 'You are the sons of the living God.'

11 Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be assembled and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up from the land, for the day of Jezreel shall be great."

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Hosea, Chapter 1

Notes

John Gill's Chapter Summary:

After the general inscription of the book, in which the author, penman, and time of this prophecy, are expressed (Hosea 1:1), the people of Israel are reproved for their idolatry, under the representation of a harlot the prophet is bid to marry, which he is said to do (Hosea 1:2-3), and their ruin and destruction are foretold in the names of the children he had by her, and by what is said on the occasion of the birth of each (Hosea 1:4-6, 8-9), but mercy and salvation are promised to Judah (Hosea 1:7), and the chapter is concluded with a glorious prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the calling of the Jews in the latter day; and of the union of Judah and Israel under one Head and Savior, Christ; and of the greatness and glory of that day (Hosea 1:10-11).

[v.1] - "Hosea" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Whose name is the same with Joshua and Jesus, and signifies a savior; he was in some things a type of Christ the Savior, and prophesied of him, and salvation by him; and was the instrument and means of saving men, as all true prophets were, and faithful ministers of the word are: to him the word of the Lord, revealing his mind and will, was brought by the Spirit of God, and impressed upon his mind; and it was committed to him to be delivered to others."

[v.2-5] - From Robert Hawker's Commentary: "God intended to show [by what is said here] the divorcement of his people. The name of Gomer is very expressive, meaning waste. God's Israel are threatened to be wasted and scattered. And Jezreel is to the same amount, meaning scattered. Reader! while we read these scriptures, and behold in the day in which we live their fulfillment; is it not sweet to recollect the promise, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him' (Jeremiah 31:10). Genesis 49:10. John 11:52."

[v.6] - "Lo-ruhamah" - That is, "Not beloved."

[v.7a] - "and will save them by the LORD their God" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "Salvation is here set in opposition to the destruction which the Prophet mentioned in the last verse. But Hosea shows that salvation depends not in the least either on arms or on any of the intervenients, as they say, of this world; but has its foundation only on God's favor. 'I will save them,' he says — why? 'because my favor will I show them.' This connection ought to be carefully noticed. Where the Lord's favor is, there is life. 'You are our God, then we shall never perish,' as it is written in the first chapter of Habakkuk. Hence the Prophet here connects salvation with God's gratuitous favor; for we cannot continue safe, but as long as God is propitious to us."

[v.7b] - "and will not save them by bow, etc." - From John Gill's Exposition: "Which may respect either the deliverance of the Jews from the invasion and siege of Sennacherib's army; which was done without shooting an arrow, or drawing the sword, or engaging in a pitched battle, or by a cavalry rushing into his camp, discomfiting his army, and pursuing them; but by an angel sent from heaven, which in one night destroyed one hundred and eighty-five thousand (2nd Kings 19:35), or else refers to Cyrus being stirred up by the Lord to issue forth a proclamation, giving liberty to the Jewish captives to go free, without price or reward; and so was brought about, not by the might and power of man, but by the Spirit of the Lord (see Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 45:13; Zechariah 4:6); though a greater salvation is pointed at, or at least shadowed forth, by this, even the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by Christ; which is the fruit of mercy, and not the effect of the merits of men; is obtained not by human power, or by man's righteousness; but by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Yahweh our righteousness, the Lord God of his people; who stands in a relation to them prior to his being the Savior of them; to which work and office he is equal, being the eternal Yahweh, and the true and living God. So the Targum, 'and I will save them by the Word of the Lord their God;' the eternal Word, that was with God, is God, and became incarnate, God in our nature."

[v.9a] - "Lo-ammi" - That is, "Not my people."

[v.9b] - "for you are not my people" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "This is the final disowning of them. They had been before called Jezreelites, and then by the name of the daughter God testified that he was alienated from them; but now the third name is still more grievous, 'You are not my people;' for God here abolishes, in a manner, the covenant he made with the holy fathers, so that the people would cease to have any pre-eminence over other nations. So then the Israelites were reduced to a condition in which they differed nothing from the profane Gentiles; and thus God wholly disinherited them. The Prophet, doubtless, was not well received, when he denied them to be God's people, who had yet descended from Abraham according to the flesh, who had ever been so accounted, and who continued proudly to boast of their election... yet this passage reminds us carefully to beware lest we abuse the present favors of God."

[v.10a] - "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea" - From John Calvin's Commentary: "That is, 'When the Lord cuts you off, still safe will remain this promise which was given to Abraham: "Look at the stars of heaven, number, if you can't, the sand of the sea; so shall your seed be,"' (Genesis 15:5)... I indeed admit that the Prophet here gave hope of salvation to the faithful; for it is certain that there were some remaining in the kingdom of Israel. Though the whole body had revolted, yet God, as it was said to Elijah, had preserved to himself some seed. The Prophet then was unwilling to leave the faithful, who remained among that lost people, without hope of salvation; but, at the same time, he had regard to hypocrites, as we have already stated. We now see the design of the Prophet, for he teaches that there would be such a vengeance as he had spoken of, though God would not yet be forgetful of his word; he teaches that there would be such a casting away of the people, though God's election would yet remain firm and unchangeable; in short, he teaches that the adoption by which God had chosen the offspring of Abraham as his people would not be void. This is the import of the whole. Then the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which is not to be measured nor numbered."

[v.10b] - "And it shall come to pass, etc." - From John Calvin's Commentary: "Hosea speaks not here of the kingdom of Israel, but of the Church, which was to be restored by a return, composed both of Jews and of Gentiles. So Paul, a fit interpreter of this passage, reminds us [in Romans 9:24-26]. Paul applies this passage, and that rightly, to the whole body of the faithful, collected without any difference, from the Jews as well as from the Gentiles: for otherwise, as we have said, the correctness and truth of prophecy would not be evident: and this view also agrees best with the design of the Prophet. For, since hypocrites in a manner tie to themselves the power of God, the Prophet says, that God can, if he chooses, raise up in an instant a new Church, which would exceed in number the sand of the sea. How so? God will create a Church for himself. From what? From stones, from nothing: for, as Paul says elsewhere, 'he calls those things which are not, as though they were' (Romans 4:17). At the same time, God, as it has been said, by his goodness contended with the wickedness of that people; for though they rejected his favor, and even obstinately thrust it away from themselves, yet such perverseness did not hinder the Lord from preserving a remnant for himself."

[v.10c] - Quoted in Romans 9:26.

[v.11] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "This passage clearly teaches, that the unity of men is of no account before God, except that it originates from one head. Besides, it is well known that God set David over his ancient people until the coming of Christ. Now, then, the Church of the Lord is only rightly formed, when the true David rules over it; that is, when all with one consent obey Christ, and submit to his bidding, (pendebunt ab ejus nutu, hang on his nod): and how Christ designs to rule in his Church, we know; for the scepter of his kingdom is the gospel. Hence, when Christ is honored with the obedience of faith, all things are safe; and this is the happy state of the Church, of which the Prophet now speaks. It seems, indeed, strange, that what is peculiar to God should be transferred to men that is, to appoint a king. But the Prophet has, by this expression, characterized the obedience of faith; for it is not enough that Christ should be given as a king, and set over men, unless they also embrace him as their king, and with reverence receive him. We now learn, that when we believe the gospel we choose Christ for our king, as it were, by a voluntary consent."

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